By Sean Collins
he Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced late Wednesday that, due to Covid-19 concerns, all of those incarcerated in federal facilities will be under quarantine for the next 14 days.
The guidelines come as a growing number of incarcerated people and prison employees have begun testing positive for and displaying symptoms indicative of the novel coronavirus, and represent the BOP’s latest effort to reduce the rate of transmission in federal facilities.
But while the new guidance is certainly better than taking no action, critics of the policy argue there are better ways to curb prison-based coronavirus cases: namely, improved sanitation and commuting sentences to reduce the number of people in prison.
While all 146,000 federally incarcerated people will be confined to their cells for two weeks, the BOP said they will be allowed into communal areas on a limited — and, as much as is possible, socially distant — basis to eat, do laundry, bathe, access the internet, and use the phone. Incarcerated people will also still have normal access to educational and mental health services. New prison arrivals will be reduced during the quarantine period.